August 13, 2002
School and Daycare
Question from Humeston, Iowa, USA:
My eight year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about a month and half ago, and when I contacted his school about his diabetes management, the superintendent told me that since there is no nurse, my son will have to give himself his shot at lunch or a family member will have to go to the school to give him his shot. He said because of liabilities none of the staff would be able to assist him other than to watch and make sure he does it and to let me know what his blood sugar is. Is this correct? It seems to me like they would have to have someone there to help him.
I understand your concern about having your eight year old take full responsibility for his diabetes care while at school. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guarantees that your child is not discriminated against in his access to educational services. While most often associated with children with special needs and learning disabilities, this law also provides protection for kids with diabetes and other chronic diseases. Parents in Maine developed a website that explains this process.
I would also call the Iowa State Education Department [515-281-5294] and ask for assistance from the staff members who work on programs for kids with special needs, or the Area Education Agency administrator for your region. Perhaps they can help you get the school district to provide the services your child needs.
Good luck and don’t let them tell you “No, it can’t be done”.